Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Nothing in the World but Youth

Two pieces from the series 'Classroom Portraits' are currently being exhibited in this vast exhibition (over 90 artists; more than 200 works) at Turner Contemporary in Margate. One of the pieces - Hartsdown Technical College, Margate. Year 8, Drama - was specially commissioned for the show.
There's much too much to see in the time and space I had to look (the opening event was pleasingly crowded and the following morning was just as busy) but the self portrait by the 16 year old Richard Hamilton was rather moving given that he died last week, aged 89. JMW Turner's young teenage sketches are also astonishing for their skill and extraordinarily fine detail. Also enjoyed Phil Collins' video of Indonesian kids singing the Smiths, Graham Dolphin's fan drawings, S Mark Gubb's school desk with homage to Iron Maiden and Glenn Brown's 'Teen Age Riot' desk smothered in a tidal wave of paint, George Shaw's gloomy yet glowing painting of council estate garages; Toby Mott's fantastic collection of political and pop/punk ephemera from the Thatcher years. Lots of photography; Rineke Dijkstra, Craig Aimes, Mark Cohen, Corrine Day, Toby Glanville, Juergen Teller, Santiago Mostyn to name but a few....
The catalogue is interesting and probably more coherent than the exhibition; it features many illustrations as well as various texts including essay length excerpts from novels such as 'Absolute Beginners' and surveys such as 'The Problem of Childhood' from 1974 by John Holt.
There are also 3 large 20 page sections set aside for individual artists - Santiago Mostyn, Toby Mott and myself - who have all created large bodies of work where youth is a fundamental theme.

Nothing in the World but Youth runs until January 8th, 2012
Turner Contemporary
Kent CT9 1HG